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The time has come when the church of our Lord can be clearly defined and stand in contrast to the sin of the world. Which is what our Lord expects from us, right! After all the culture and the people in Jerusalem expected a Messiah who would destroy the Roman rulers and establish the Kingdom of God again as in the days of Solomon. How shocked they were to see the events unfold that resulted in the death of their Messiah. Jesus’ ministry ran counter to the social expectations. He came to conquer an empire, he came to establish a kingdom, but the emperor was sin and the empire was death.
Now that the culture has aligned against the teachings of scripture and the love of God in redemption the church can stand out and apart from the culture. That will only occur if we the disciples of Jesus are willing and ready for this “Time of Distinction.”
The question individually then is are we willing to be distinct, different, ready to take a stand. According to many polls Christians are divided on biblical marriage with many choosing to take the position of the culture. Willingness means a personal commitment to the authority of God’s word. The question then about willingness becomes a question about submission to God’s word. God has always demanded his people be distinct and different from the culture. In the Old Testament when God chose the people of Israel he gave them laws to follow to worship him. The laws including the food laws and circumcision were to mark off his people as distinct and different.
The second question if we are willing are we ready to be distinct. Being ready means being prepared to stand as distinctive and different. This involves being ready in the word. If we are committed we must be ready to let the word of God shape our lives, opinions, and actions. This does not mean we are to be ready to stand in rallies and shout chants, to respond in social media with misrepresentations of scripture, or to speak words of anger, bitterness, or judgement about other sinners. Jesus wants sinners to be saved. I am blessed to be among those that are saved by recognizing my sin and accepting the atonement of Jesus. Why would we want to deny anyone the grace that we have received. To be the vessel of grace for others we must commit to being ready. To study and pray for others and ourselves that we have the courage to stand in the gap for those who are lost.
God has given his people the church an opportunity to reach the lost like no other time in American history because the lines are no longer blurred. There is a clear distinction now between those that love God and their neighbor and those that love themselves. Disciples of our Lord are to be foot washing servants, slaves to Jesus even while the foot we are trying to wash is kicking out us constantly.
Blessing In Christ
The importance of living free and thinking as God intended has fallen out vogue for many. Most tend to think that life is a proper mix of living in the world which includes religious acts and some devotion to God. God intended for our minds to be used for His glory and delight. In setting our minds free to think as a Christian we find our greatest joy and satisfaction because all of life takes on a new look. We are able to see God, to experience God, and to love God more deeply than ever before. As believers we have been given a special gift to discern and know the wisdom of God.
2 Corinthians 3:14–18
14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Many will question where is this joy, why am I not feeling this delight and the experience of God. The answer is that even though the veil may be removed we must open our eyes. This means unhooking or minds and eyes from the world. What is the greatest hindrance? Television, smartphones, and the internet. Many people, and I am included, have made ourselves slaves to the information age. The result we can not behold the glory of God as we should because our eyes are darkened to God and our minds are flooded with ungodly images.
Free your minds turn off the electronics and turn on the Word of God in the Scriptures.
Your brain fed on the world.
Your brain fed on the Word!!!
Recently our youth traveled to the Creation Museum as part of our study on creation versus evolution. In the study the main objective has been to ask the young adults to think and to use their minds as God had intended. Evolutionist pride themselves on having been enlightened and set free from God and the Bible and therefore they are free to think outside of the boundaries of faith. They claim to be the ones who hold the true knowledge. Yet, the science and the scientific method of historical science has many gaps in the data. They are forced to fill those gaps with assumptions and theories that require faith. Christians have the same gaps but we accept the answers from God and these are often proven to be accurate. Also the answers from God are more satisfying to explain all the questions of life. All that the students were asked to do was to Think. I would agree with Norman Geisler who wrote the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Atheism demands boundaries of thinking that are too restrictive to be personally satisfying.
We had a great trip with our young people that included a picnic lunch, zip lines and touring the museum exhibits including a planetarium show. The planetarium was my favorite because it showed truly How Great is our God. The zip lines added a little excitement to the trip and we had a great time learning faith to step off the edge and fly through the air.
Considering the victims of abortion who are the ones most to be pitied. Who are the ones Christians should seek to love and be compassionate toward. There are three groups the mother who will kill her child, the baby who will die, and the physicians and nurses who will commit the murder.
Many Christians would answer the baby because it is true the baby is the primary victim. If we understand scripture, God is the source of all life God knows the ultimate purpose for the life He creates. Then we must hold fast to the belief that God created the life of the baby for a reason that is ultimately good. Even if the baby was conceived in the worst conditions, will live in horrible poverty, The ultimate purpose of the life God created is not this life but the life intended one day to possibly be part of the Kingdom of God and to be a worshiper in Heaven. The life is for God’s glory and love. Has the baby been denied this purpose because of being murdered and never having lived outside of the womb? No, because by God’s grace and the atoning blood of Jesus that life is redeemed. The baby will never experience the hardships and sins of this life, hunger cold, loneliness, rejection, temptation nor any of the other effects of a fallen world. Does the baby need a Savior the Lord Jesus. Yes because all of humanity has inherited sin from Adam. By grace alone in Christ alone that child is saved and will be with God in Heaven as part of the Kingdom. Some would rationalize this to say then it is better the baby was murdered if that is what we believe as Christians. The answer to that is a definite and absolute no! God created that life and we must uphold the value of life as being created in the image of God.
The baby murdered in abortion has been denied the opportunity of living for God in this life but has gained the eternal reward of being with Christ in eternal Paradise. As a Christian we must uphold the value of all life not primarily because the potential of that life in this world but for the reason that every life is carries the image of God. By destroying life we destroy that image and blaspheme God’s name.
The mother is the second group. She is to be loved and cared for even if she goes through with the abortion. She is facing a choice and is being misguided and misdirected. Our concern and love should be greater toward her. She is a victim of the culture that says it is your body and your choice. As Christians were are to reach out as sinners who have experienced the grace of Christ in redemption and forgiveness. The sin of the mother condemns her without Christ just as our sin condemns us without the saving grace and mercy of Christ. There will be hurt and guilt and conviction for what she has done. She will need the good news that Jesus came to heal the sinners heart and bring new life. The mother is in a place either before or after an abortion where she needs the love of God and God’s people. Repentance and forgiveness are close at hand for her and in the experience maybe she will accept the sacrifice and blood of Christ as her sacrifice and become a believer. What if the purpose of the murdered baby is to bring the mother to salvation?
The abortionist a.k.a. murderers of the innocent are the most to be pitied and the most to be loved by Christians. Watching the videos released by CMP brings emotions of anger and hate. Anger is acceptable if it is righteous anger because God will use that anger to motive a person to action. Jesus turned over a few tables in His ministry. Hate is never allowed for a child of God. We must fight the urge to hate even when the words from the abortionist and their actions to seem so cold and callous. We are to love the enemies of the cross of Christ because we once were the enemies of the cross as unrepentant sinners. The abortionist and those that support this view are lost in the darkness they are ensnared by the evil one and trapped. They have rejected life and take life callously with no reverence or respect for life. They are depraved when they can talk about the body parts of babies, with no guilt or fear, calling the parts by name but never acknowledging that a life was taken. They describe procedures where the head can be crushed but the brain salvaged. Yes if we believe in a judgment for sin we must pity and have compassion on the abortionist because the torment they face will be ten thousand times the torment they have caused to one of these little ones. Not that their sin condemns them to a greater degree than the sins of lust, greed, gluttony, anger, gossip, worry, or failing to love God. But, that they are so far from conviction and repentance. Their stone cold hearts do not feel anything. They are dead inside. We must pray that God in his grace would save them.
So in looking at all involved, the baby will receive Paradise to live in peace and joy forever ministered to by angels and living in the love and glory of God, the mother may one day be reunited with her child if in the conviction and guilt she turns to the one source of life Jesus Christ for forgiveness and accepts Him as her Savior. The abortionist lives moves and works under the forces of evil with a dead heart and totally deceived. Our prayers must be for the mother but more importantly for the abortionist. Jesus cried out from the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). The real victim will be those that die without Jesus and the abortionist is more likely to be the one who will reject Jesus.
Grace and peace,
I was asked this afternoon by someone if I was going to post something on Facebook regarding the Supreme Court decision today on homosexual marriage. I have prayed about whether I should, I have a very small voice among many great church leaders and scholars who will weigh in on the religious, philosophical, and political analysis of this decision today. I will offer these thoughts they are my own thoughts for what they are worth but I have striven to let my opinions be guided by the the truth of scriptures.
First for the faithful to whom it may seem their prayers have gone unanswered. Prayers expecting God to change the hearts of the justices to do the right thing. Remember God has not been overcome by the godless and sinful ways of man. As a matter of fact the victory has been won in the cross and the sins for those that are saved by Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross have been forgiven. If we are truly Christians and wanted God to change the hearts of the justices wouldn’t we rather see them changed to receive the same gift of forgiveness we have received. Remember we to once walked in darkness but a great light has broken into our lives. God’s plan is a plan of salvation from sins. We need to remain focused on the gospel and to call all to repent and turn from their sinful ways, yes the fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, the gossips, those that deceive, the one who fails to love God, the one who is angry with his neighbor, the one who looks upon another with lust in their heart, yes even the small child who envies the toys of another.
Second many who turn to hate and react with ungodly words and actions but yet call themselves disciples of the Lord need to look into their own hearts and apply the truth of the scriptures to their lives before looking beyond to those that seem to be destroying marriage and the foundations of the family. Many will want to be like James and John who wanted to call down fire from heaven because the village rejected Jesus and his ministry. Jesus rebuked the two disciples, never saying the village was right, reminding them he came to save. We were once those who rejected Jesus and if there is any rebuke or discipline remember that only sons of God, believers, are the ones to receive the love of God in discipline. I turn to Hebrews and Proverbs…
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Proverbs 3:11–12 (ESV)
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
God will discipline his children. You I hope and myself in our reactions to this decision should be guided by the possible rebuke of God if we react in a sinful way. Just as Jesus rebuked the two disciples. Remember you are loved and we can hope that those who reject God and his truth will come to know that same love that we enjoy.
Third as an evangelical, life will get very difficult as we continue to hold to the truth of God’s word and accept that our first allegiance is to God and not to this country. I want to offer history. The church has looked away from other immoralities in our Judeo-Christian history. Look at the pitiful state of marriage in the Old Testament where polygamy was rampant even among the most faithful servants of God. In the New Testament the religious leaders of the day sought a justification for divorce with Jesus, Paul taught that is was better that a man marry than burn with lust. History is filled with many issues of sexual immorality in the church (e.g. The Corinthians that Paul addressed in the New Testament). Maybe the church needs to focus more broadly on the problems of the decline of family and marriage that includes divorce, cohabitation (the modern term for fornication), homosexuality, and pornography. The greatest challenge to the church will be to maintain the right and religious liberty to define right and wrong based on the truth of scripture and to call sinners to repent. This is the true threat to our message and the gospel.
Lastly this is not the end. Just like the Roe v Wade decision in 1973 that made killing babies legal. Things may be settled but they are not settled. The decision means that 5 people have spoken in an opinion of their own will but not based on law as Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.” The five willed the outcome not based on law. Not the law of the land and certainly not the law of God. The Supreme court took it upon themselves to redefine marriage. We who are called by God as sons and daughters know the true definition of marriage as a gift of God to be shared exclusively between one man and one woman for life. The focus needs to be on strengthening our churches with a conviction towards biblical marriage and family that is based on God’s truth resulting in healthier families.
Love is truly a wonderful thing if we accept the definition as God defines love. God’s definition of love is not based on a lust filled spaghetti of emotions and feelings but on commitment. Love will be wrong in all marriages that do not recognize love in a biblical and godly way. Love will twisted to be about us and our personal feelings rather than commitment to our spouse. The love of others will grow cold. This is the case in so many marriages today where men and women simply decide that the marriage is not personally fulfilling and walk away. Guess what gay community welcome now to the mess of ungodly marriages filled with broken hearts, broken homes, and devastated children. Maybe you were better off in the closet where you had to be committed and you had to trust your partner.
Church now is the time when we turn to God and hold onto the principles of scripture and offer the lost of the world the true hope in Jesus Christ. As the church we need to send this message to all who are sinners like ourselves there is a God who will give you forgiveness and restoration in the blood of Jesus Christ. This is our message of love the gospel of Christ Jesus our Lord. Even as they try to silence our voice we need to cry out even louder because they are doomed without Jesus.
Relevance of Genesis Clip: Foundations – Answers in Genesis
Beginning this fall the church at Rockbridge will begin a church wide curriculum centered around The Gospel Project from Lifeway Christian Resources. Along with this new Sunday School curriculum Rockbridge will offer a new worship service on Sunday evening at 6:00 PM.
More information can be found at http://www.gospelproject.com/